I’m Only Half-Serious

September 29, 2012 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

“I’d like to order a whole chicken,” I said to the man behind the counter at the barbeque restaurant.

“Sorry, dude,” he replied. “We don’t have whole chickens.”

“Oh, okay. Well, what should I get for a family of four?”

“How about two half-chickens.”


So I wrote a letter to the manager at Red Hot & Blue:

To Whom It May Concern,

Please be advised that two halves equal one whole.

A Mathematically Literate Customer

Of course, there are those who could be convinced that 1 = 1/2. Let a = b. Then,

a2 = ab
a2b2 = abb2
(a + b)(ab) = b(ab)
a + b = b
a + a = a
2a = a
2 = 1
2 ÷ 2 = 1 ÷ 2
1 = 1/2

A lot of confusion about halves and wholes occurs in classrooms, too.

Teacher: Who can give me some examples of whole numbers?
Student: 0, 6, 8, 9.
Teacher: What about 10?
Student: That’s only a half-whole, since 1 doesn’t have a hole in it.

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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September 2012

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